Social media is often not a priority for Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT solution providers. This is understandable, given the number of urgent priorities vying for your attention. But ignoring this channel may not be in your best interest.
The benefits of social media marketing are significant. In Social Media Examiner’s May 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, it was found that 87% of marketers indicated their social media efforts increased exposure for their brand while 78% found it increased traffic to their sites.
Source: 2018 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, SocialMediaExaminer.com
Social media also plays an important role in the B2B buying process. A study by research firm IDC found that 75% of B2B buyers and 84% of C-level/VP execs use social media to support purchase decisions. Not only do they use social media to make purchasing decisions, but the buyers have influence in their organizations. The average B2B buyer who uses social media to support their purchase decisions is more senior than their non-social media using counterparts. Not only that, but buyers who reference social media channels also have a bigger budget and larger span of buying control.
75% of B2B Buyers and 84% of C-Level/VP Executives Surveyed, Use
Social Media* to Make Purchasing Decisions
*LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or online professional communities
The IDC study found that according to B2B purchasers, one of the greatest benefits of social media is that they gain greater confidence in their buying decisions. This is a powerful endorsement for B2B social media, especially in the tech world where it is critical to get buyers on your side.
In fact, we’ve seen positive results with our own social media experience at GamePlan Marketing. Posts on our channels can be directly correlated to sales of our services to new customers. We have even been able to track the specific posts that led to certain customer engagements. This type of information is invaluable and provides insight into the topics, keywords, and social platforms that are most relevant for our target audience.
5 easy steps to get (re)started with social media
But back to the issue of priorities – namely, the lack of time and resources available for MSPs and IT solution providers to dedicate to social media. What are some initial, meaningful steps you can take to get back on track with social media?
Here’s how you can leverage social media to help you achieve objectives even if you haven’t started or your social accounts have been dormant for a few years:
- Perform an audit of your social accounts. Which accounts are active, and is that where your target audience spends their time? Where do your engagement rates and stats currently fall, and where should you aim to be? Is it time for a revamp of your profile pages? Also round up user names and passwords for each account. *Tip: Here's a link to get your complimentary 2 hour social media audit. This will save you time and help get you started.
- Set objective and goals. What is your main objective - Is it Brand Awareness? Driving leads? Increasing the number of newsletter subscribers? You can change objectives over time, but be sure to set up clear expectations for measuring success right from the beginning.
- Identify who you are trying to reach. Review your target market and what’s important to them. What challenges does your target market face? What keeps them up at night? What social media channels should you use to effectively reach this target market?
- Perform an audit on your content. Identify content you can post about on your social media channels. Do you have a blog, a website, sales material, newsletters, etc? Document upcoming events, sponsorships, and speaking engagements your company is participating in. Also identify industry associations you support.
- Get started! It doesn’t have to be difficult to get the social media engines going (again). Just begin posting and engaging, keeping in mind the points identified above. And commit to keeping the momentum going! Posting regularly and engaging with your current and potential customers is essential for your brand.
Deeper analysis to refine your social media strategy (for MSPs and IT solution providers)
If you want to dive more deeply in to your analysis, here are a couple of additional steps that aren’t mandatory to start but may help increase your understanding of your marketplace and available opportunities:
1. Perform a SWOT Analysis to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats related to your company’s social media. This 4-quadrant analysis will help you really understand where the opportunities are and where you should be careful.
2. Do a competitive analysis/assessment. What social media platforms do your competitors use? What kind of content do they post? How regularly do they post? Analyzing your competition is an important step, and you may even learn something new or gain new ideas.
A few additional things to consider as you establish your social media presence:
- Visuals: Adding visuals to your posts helps reinforce your message and branding. People naturally gravitate to visual content. If you post visual content, your engagement rates and impressions (post views) will increase. One study indicates that your social media content will generate 94% more views if it contains visual elements.
- Tools to manage your accounts: Consider third party tools such as HubSpot, Hootsuite or Sprout Social to manage your social media posts. Using a third party tool can help to streamline the process and save you time, by eliminating the need to log in to each social platform when you post and engage.
- Video: 80% of internet traffic will consist of video traffic by 2019. That’s because people prefer to watch a video than read text. Social networks also prioritize video because videos significantly increase engagement online – so you should definitely start including video content in your social media marketing (if you haven’t already).
If your social media presence consists of a couple of accounts that haven’t been touched for over a year, don’t despair (or worse, give up)! Begin with the 5 steps outlined above. When you have some traction, move on to your deeper analysis. And adjust your approach as necessary.
Once you are underway you may wonder how to approach Social Media when you have a complex IT solution to sell. We’ll cover that in our next blog.
If you need help with your technology company’s social media accounts, click here to access a complimentary 2 hour social media audit. Results of the audit will help you prioritize the most effective places to focus your energies, build a social media strategy, and set realistic goals.